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Showing posts from December, 2013

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is a time for looking back on the moments which made the previous year great or challenging, etc, and the promise of a new year being better and more fulfilling than the last. New Year's Eve will make you regret watching this dull and vapid piece of crap, no matter when you saw it during the year.




From Gary Marshall, the man behind Pretty Woman and A League of Their Own, this already forgotten star-studded turkey from 2011 follows the same formula from 2010's Valentine's Day: a series of vignettes which either serve as comedic set pieces, or dramatic ones, depending on the script. Some characters are looking for love. Some are looking for second chances. Some of these stories connect and collide with one another. Some are just purely stand alones. Here are just a few of the stories from this film: Hillary Swank plays the VP of the Times Square Alliance, a group dedicated to the planning of the big ball drop in the heart of NYC's big event. She's …

American Hustle

A film about corruption and searing social commentary about what we'll do to chase the American dream? Made by the guy who made of the best anti-war pictures of the last several years (Three Kings) and one of the best sports dramas since Miracle (The Fighter)? And it combines Christian Bale & Amy Adams from The Fighter and Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook? This has to be a sure-fire Oscar heavyweight! Man, director and co-writer David O'Russell is swinging for the fences here! He's going to make this next period piece his Goodfellas, and hell, if you're going to draw inspiration from any crime drama, that's the way to go! I'm going to see this tonight!







2+ hours later.........






Well, two out of three ain't bad.



American Hustle is a good movie. A damn good one. O'Russell nails the period of the 70's perfectly. The lavish clothes, the attitude that this gravy train of decadence will never end, the electric mix of 70…

On Dynasties, Ignorance, and Moving Foreward To the Future.

In the beginning, I wanted Mr. Brown Verses to be a blog about movies, and that's it. Given how there's much more going on, like film analysis and how it relates to issues both here in America and beyond our borders; the annual predictions on the Academy Awards race; the state of the film industry; issues of ethnicity and gender roles in the business; the continued rise of fandom with both sexes; etc - it would be foolish to not talk about it and just sticking with reviewing movies. Most of this has been hesitance on my end because I personally feel that I'm not as well-versed in the film medium to really speak on trends and whatnot. There are other, more eloquent critics and readers of the Award-season tea leaves that express these concepts so damn well, it's almost amazing they haven't been picked up by publishers like Entertainment Weekly or Rolling Stone or The New York Times, but I guess the idea that they stand apart makes their work more fearless, more rich…

The Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013 - Part II (#'s 5-1)

Here we go, boys and girls: the top 5 worst movies I've seen this year. These are the films which drove me crazy; the ones that pissed me off, left me feeling bitter, and/or flat pissed me off.





5. The Lone Ranger - The biggest flop of the summer shares the honor of worst blockbuster of 2013. The Lone Ranger's dilemma is that the filmmakers couldn't decide whether this was an action comedy, or a gritty, dark take on the television series and as a result it ends up being neither compelling or exciting to watch. Note to Disney: just because you brought together the same people who were behind the mega-successful Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise (Gore Verbenski directing, Jerry Bruckheimer producing, Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio writing and Johnny Depp starring), that doesn't mean you can try and essentially make the same damn movie again and expect the same result as the last series of movies you've been working on!






4. The Hangover Part III - You remember the firs…

Mr. Brown and The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is now the shortest of the Middle-Earth series by a whopping 161 minutes (or 2 hours and 41 minutes). Yet, Peter Jackson's second entry into his prequel trilogy feels like a 3-hour opus, filled with rousing action sequences and stunning production value (it's really amazing the filmmakers could still find uncharted places within New Zealand to shoot these films). Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes Design, Visual Effects, Sound Editing and the score, once again composed and conducted by the great Howard Shore - the look and feel of this film rivals Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for Hollywood decadence at their best. Like James Cameron, Jackson is that rare director who knows what to do with a massive budget, and not a cent is wasted in the final product. They all serve at the altar of Jackson's untamed imagination and he does let it fly (the barrel waterfall sequence alone will get applau…

The Top 10 Worst Films of 2013 - Part I (#'s 10-6)

The old saying goes, "If you want to know where you're going, look back to where you've been." That saying easily sums up 2013, in a nutshell. If you had told me that the end of this movie year would see some of the boldest, most impressive works, ranging from the collapse of the American Dream, to our country's shameful past of putting black slaves into bondage, to sublime stories featuring one person gazing into oblivion and fighting like hell to survive, I wouldn't have believed you, because there was so much crap and mediocrity that we had to sift through. Hell, even summer movies couldn't escape the crippling disease of the Suck this year; that's how dire it was looking. Thankfully, good movies returned just in time for the final five months of the year, but that doesn't mean I can forgive, nor forget, all the shit I personally had to endure at the multiplex. So, if you'll indulge me, I would like to take this time and give a solid kick i…

Mr. Brown and The Girl on Fire!

Last year, The Hunger Games came very close to cracking my Top 10 Best Films list, but missed the cut despite a star-making (and in my opinion, Oscar-worthy) performance from it's leading star, Jennifer Lawrence, who would later on win the Best Actress trophy in David O' Russel's Silver Linings Playbook, a terrific supporting cast, and sharp social commentary on reality TV and the inequality between the wealthy and the poor. The reason behind this was director Gary Ross, and the misuse of shaky cam, especially in the first hour of the film. I get that Ross wanted to shoot the film in a gritty, verite-style, but that format just doesn't work for when you're introducing the characters and the world they're inhabiting, and it became a distraction as the film went on.

This time, with its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, I can easily say the following: this is not only the best Hollywood blockbuster flick I've seen all year, it's also one of the year…